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Innovation is the name of the game at the Arthritis Ideator Awards™

Awards pictureLights, camera, innovation!  

At Arthritis Society Canada’s second annual Arthritis Ideator Awards™ – held April 20, 2023 at Toronto’s MaRS Discovery District – novel ideas to improve the lives of six million Canadians living with arthritis took centre stage. Seven finalists from across the country competed in a pitch-style contest to score one of four $50,000-prizes and the opportunity to grow their venture. At the core of each entrepreneur’s presentation was innovation, the ingredient needed to unravel the complexities of this disease and to one day solve it. A panel of judges selected three victors, while a fourth was determined by popular vote via the People’s Choice Award. 

AIA Winners 2023Winners of the 2023 Arthritis Ideator Awards™: 

FirstHx – Chris O’Connor 
Heal Mary – Cassandra Hui and Samantha Gardener 
Pillcheck – Veronika Litinski and Dr. Ruslan Dorfman 
Joints on Point (People’s Choice Award winner following more than 3,600 votes cast between April 5 and 19) – Lucas Trapeau and Julien Trapeau 

“We are eager to bring this technology to people with arthritis. This award means we can help more people solve their pain problems,” says Dr. Ruslan Dorfman, part of the winning Pillcheck team. Pillcheck pairs clinical pharmacy services with DNA analysis to help quickly identify the right medication in the right dosage for people living with arthritis and other diseases.  

The judges panelThe judging panel was composed of Mohamad Fakih, Executive Chair & President, Paramount Fine Foods; Jasmine Ganie-Hobbs, Director Tech Financing, BDC; Andrew Oliver, President & CEO, Oliver & Bonacini Hospitality; Ronald Reuben, Founder and Executive Chairman, Medicom Group; and Trish Barbato, President & CEO, Arthritis Society Canada. 

“To bring forth a solution to arthritis – whether that’s better therapies or eventually a cure – we need innovation. We need entrepreneurs to be excited, and we need to support them. That’s why we created these awards last year,” says Trish Barbato, President & CEO, Arthritis Society Canada. “On behalf of the judges and Arthritis Society Canada, I extend a heartfelt congratulations to the winners and finalists. You are all part of the future we need to improve the lives of those living with arthritis and to one day extinguish it for good.” 

Emcee Rod BlackAbuzz with energy and enthusiasm, the event was emceed by award-winning sports broadcaster Rod Black, who kept the crowd of 185 guests – including donors, sponsors, media and influencers – engaged and entertained. He shared his personal connection to the disease, as did others who took to the podium to speak.  

The next group of game-changing innovators will be announced at the third annual Arthritis Ideator Awards™ taking place on April 18, 2024.  

The Arthritis Ideator Awards™ are a component of Arthritis Society Canada’s Innovation Strategy, which fuels solutions to the fire of arthritis through transformational change. To this end, the organization invests in high-risk, high-reward research; collaborates on social impact projects; and helps bright and emerging entrepreneurs develop their ideas to improve the lives of people with arthritis. 

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